Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, says President Obama will “poison the well” on immigration if he acts on the issue unilaterally after the midterm elections.
“If the president, in the lame-duck session of Congress, after the elections but right before a new session, tries to do some kind of an unconstitutional work around Congress, he will poison the well for immigration reform and make a political decision to not work on getting immigration reform,” Mr. Ryan said on Fox Business Network.
The key, Mr. Ryan said, is “workable legal immigration.” The Democrat-controlled Senate passed a broad bill last year that boosts border security and provides a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, while the GOP-controlled House has favored a step-by-step approach.
“What we want to do is just make sure national security is taken care of first,” Mr. Ryan said. “I mean, secure the border, have interior enforcement, actually get that done, actually verify that that’s done, and then go fix the the other things that are broken with immigration. With ISIS, with heroin coming into our schools, this is a national security crisis. We have to deal with this border issue. The president hasn’t, and that’s what’s frustrating to Republicans.”
The issue received renewed attention earlier this year with an influx of young illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. To the consternation of many pro-immigrant groups, Mr. Obama ultimately decided to postpone any major unilateral moves on the issue until after the elections.
But Mr. Ryan said if Mr. Obama does decide to go around Congress, he will put millions of people in “legal limbo” and “poison the goodwill in Congress to get anything done on a bipartisan basis.”